Property Australia

Exceptional industry leaders take out this year’s top prizes


There isn’t a set playbook when it comes to managing a retirement community, each one is unique, and this presents a challenge for any village manager. The 2020 Regional Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year winners all understand this, and it is what has helped them to excel in their field.  
“There is cause to celebrate Australia’s robust retirement living industry this year. 2020 has proved to be challenging, yet I believe that the industry has demonstrated it can and will prosper in the face of adversity. The cornerstone of any good village is the Village Manager, guiding their village through this difficult period,” says Ben Myers, the Property Council of Australia’s Executive Director of Retirement Living. 
“We are proud to announce our Regional (State) winners of this year’s Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year.” 
So what sets a good Village Manager apart from a great one? They recognise what is at the core of every retirement village, the residents. 
The winners of this year’s Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year are: 
WA Winner: David Mooney, Timberside Villas, Lendlease Retirement Living 
David manages all aspects of a 140-unit independent living village, Timberside Villas in Western Australia. He continually provides suggestions to improve services and activities at Timberside Villas while maintaining and harnessing new relationships with contractors, service providers and local community groups. His ability to manage the village incorporating residents needs and promoting a happy and harmonious village far exceeds expectations.  


VIC/TAS Winner: Kelvin Lloyd, Aveo Veronica Gardens, Aveo 
When Kelvin arrived at Aveo Veronica Gardens in 2018 it would be fair to say that the village was struggling under the weight of public scrutiny about certain operations. Many residents and their families were upset and discontent with life in this village. Kelvin has spent a considerable amount of time engaging with residents, as well as listening to both residents and staff in order to gain a thorough appreciation of the issues. In adopting his resident centric approach, residents have noticed a sharp improvement in services and activities offered at the village.  


QLD Winner: Joshua Hargans, North Lakes Retirement Resort, Stockland 
Since joining Stockland in 2017, Josh has been pivotal in leading the restructure of his village. He has a unique ability to put himself in the resident’s shoes, to really understand what their concerns are, and to address them quickly. Josh is very good at empowering his team to do the same, collaborating on a daily basis. Importantly, there is a high level of engagement with the residents committee, involving them in decisions around the village, helping to provide a united position.  


NSW/ACT Winner: Sue Nelson, Newling Gardens Retirement Village, RetireAustralia 
Bringing a highly personable approach to her role and always going above and beyond the job description to ensure the happiness and well-being of her community, Sue Nelson has taken out the NSW/ACT Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year award. Sue is an Armidale local and was appointed Village Manager at Newling Gardens Retirement Village, Armidale on 20 August 2018, with her commitment to residents over the past two years second to none. From the outset, Sue has sought to build enduring friendships in her role as Village Manager and to immerse herself in the life of the community. 


SA/NT Winner: Isabel Sassine, Unity and Salford, Stockland 
Managing two Stockland Retirement Villages, Unity and Salford, comprising 163 Independent Living Units and 41 serviced apartments, Isabel Sassine is a busy village manager that has won this years’ SA/NT Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year! Managing multiple budgets, Isabel has a can-do attitude and is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get involved. Working in the kitchen, in care and in reception, Isabel likes to lead by example and will not ask her staff to do things that she is not prepared to do herself. Isabel puts herself in the shoes of her stakeholders whether it is residents, staff, families or community members. She is passionate and driven and not afraid to go the extra mile to get the job done.  

All of these fantastic winners now go into the running to take home the National Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year. National winners will be announced through a virtual online event on Thursday, 19 November.  

The National Retirement Living Awards is to go on(line)! this year and is your opportunity to be part of the retirement living industry’s biggest celebration of projects and people across the nation. 
For the first time ever, we are giving you free access to join us virtually for the unveiling of the national winners. 
Book your free ticket from the National Retirement Living Awards website (link to and join us for the celebrations on Thursday, 19 November. 


Click here to view the winner announcement videos